Monday, January 4, 2010

Youtube: Betcha George Orwell Didn't See This Metric Coming!

Youtube remains a TV set 'On Demand' but with a difference. There is a popular myth that surrounds the Youtube user community - that they are "Sticking it to the Man" by posting and watching stuff without permissions. This zeitgeist gives users the idea that stealing (which they are not) = freedom (which it is not).

Betcha George Orwell didn't see that metric coming!

People use P2P file sharing to share TV content and Youtube to post the content online. Users are not breaking copyright law because no one is charging anything. Youtube simply has to pay the producers a percentage of what they make through ad revenue on the site. These amounts are being settled in court and in the market place as we speak write.

Youtube is another revenue stream for producers, one they're going to need as ad revenues are currently imploding. Unless TV gets with the On-Demand thing quickly (which they are), they'll all be bankrupt by summer.

1984 Image courtesy: Slavenka & Obi Blog (no attribution)
YouTube Image courtesy: University of Kentucky - Engineering - Solar Car Team page

(This is a snippet of an article on 'new media' that I am in the process of writing called, "The Interactive Narrative".)



  1. "Users are not breaking copyright law because no one is charging anything. "

    Where did you get this idea? You are entirely wrong.

  2. I get ideas from my head.

    What do you think is wrong about my idea?

    Strictly speaking, I agree, the statement is wrong copywrite law doesn't say I can share other peoples content except in very specific circumstances. But practically the way these things are resolved is in courts and in the market place.

    Ever since the VCR or the cassette tape recorder came along we've been copying our favourite music and video and sharing them with our friends. Now Youtube has come along, it is a machine that enables us to interface with the internet and helps us do what we have always been doing - share things we find interesting, things we love with our friends. The only difference now is that the copies are perfect, not fading analogue copies.

    Another difference - and this goes to the point of my article - between me and my friends there are now a different kinds of bullies than when we were kids, ACTA bullies (The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement bullies), who take the tapes we've made and smash them on the sidewalk under the heels of there stomping boots.



  3. Anonymous,

    Sorry if I was a tad snarky in my retort. I realize now you're probably a copyright lawyer, or you work in the corporate sector where intranets and security are paramount to securing valuable intellectual property that are the foundation stones of the business model that guarantee your continued employment - and that's the way you think about these things.

    I should say that I don't get ideas from my head, no-one does. I synthesize other people's ideas and sometimes I come up with unique ways of looking at the world that have some value.

    Here are a couple of imaginings of the present that haven't been broadly distributed yet - in other words, imaginings of the future.

    "Johanna Blakely: Lessons from fashion's free culture"

    Also check out this, imagine a business model around bit torrent file sharing. It's from 2007 but I think the ideas, for several reasons - not including their value - were 4 years ahead of their time:

    "Piracy is Good?"(part 1 of 7)